Kurt Hildebrand

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June 23, 2014
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Ranchos teenager admits blowdart attacks

A Gardnerville Ranchos teenager admitted to using a blowgun to launch 4-inch metal darts at a resident while she was working in her yard.

The boy, his parents and attorney Derrick Lopez appeared in Douglas County District Court on Monday in connection with the April 28 incident.

Lopez said he, the boy and the boy’s parents were satisfied after reading warnings on the blow dart packaging that it qualified as a deadly weapon.

There was some question at an earlier hearing, but Lopez confirmed that the darts “can cause serious injury if mishandled.”

“We admit that it meets the statutory definition as a deadly weapon,” Lopez said. “He hurt someone and it’s his fault.”

The boy faces being taken from his parents and placed in a juvenile facility at sentencing on July 1.

Juvenile Probation Officer Michael Torres said he needed a week to prepare a report on the boy, but that he would recommend formal probation.

The victim, who was in the courtroom on Monday, said she would return for the teen’s sentencing next week.

Torres told District Judge Tod Young that the teenager performed well on house arrest. His parents said he was doing his chores, and that he’d obtained a job working in a restaurant on weekends.

He is saving money to pay for the victim’s doctor bills, his attorney, and to make restitution. Lopez said the teen had already attended the victims impact panel and has signed up as a volunteer for the annual Death Ride.

“He knows what he did was wrong,” Lopez said. “It was out of character for him.”

Young ordered the teenager to cooperate with Juvenile Probation in preparation of the report, which meant writing about what he did.

“If I read anything about this being a mistake or an accident, you’d better kiss your mother goodbye before you come into court,” Young said. “This was not a mistake, it was not an accident. That’s not how a blowdart works.”

Young took the teenager off house arrest, saying he knew he would be with juvenile probation officers for four of the next seven days.

“If you go out and do something stupid or mean you will regret it for a very long time,” Young said.

Douglas County Sheriff’s deputies arrested the teenager and his cousin on April 28 after receiving several reports that residents in the Gardnerville Ranchos were being struck by the darts.

On Monday, the boy said he hoped to attend the University of Nevada, Reno, after he graduates. He was a junior at Douglas High School.

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The Record Courier Updated Jun 26, 2014 11:24AM Published Jun 23, 2014 05:37PM Copyright 2014 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.